Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Here's a collection of long reads for your weekend pleasure.

Alex Brown at Tor.com has an excellent piece about the problems with the still-really-awesome Guardians of the Galaxy. And she pretty well nails it!
Here’s the thing. You can’t give me Gamora then spend the whole movie slut-shaming her and locking her into an unnecessary romance, then expect me to be grateful a woman was even allowed a prominent role. You can’t merchandise the hell out of your male (and animal, and plant) characters and skip the female ones altogether. You can’t claim Guardians is the first Marvel movie written by a woman when it was so substantially re-written by a man that everything from the character personalities to the main story arc is entirely different. Marvel as a corporation may be winning the race against DC to be the most socially progressive of the Big Two, but that victory is due less to the increasing insistence on diversity and more to DC eagerly hobbling itself.
Deborah Pless has an in-depth discussion about the characterization of mothers in law in genre fiction in this week's Strong Female Character Friday: Queen Catherine (Reign).
So looking at this, the frustration of this trope, you would think that I really hate Reign's Queen Catherine (Megan Follows). She is, after all, the quintessential poisonous mother-in-law. She is so sure that Queen Mary (Adelaide Kane) will bring disaster on France if she marries Catherine's son Francis (Toby Regbo), that she is willing to attempt assassinations, use magic and fortunetelling, and even hire men to rape Mary. She is not a nice person.

I think she's a brilliant character, though. In fact, I think that the show, without Catherine, would be virtually unwatchable. Mary is all well and good, but the show works because of the way that Mary and Catherine are cast as opposites. Instead of the real conflict between them centering around Francis, their true disconnect is actually about their similarities, and Mary's reluctance to recognize how similar they really are.

Lauren Miller has a guest post on Viva La Feminista where she shares her Reflections on Anita Hill, Twenty-Three Years Later.
However, as Anita: Speaking Truth to Power reminds us, the truth is not easily digested by those unwilling to engage with it—those socialized firmly within a patriarchy that promises, among other things, to allow an otherwise rightfully deserving man to continue toward the prize he has earned. When Anita spoke out, many questioned, “Why could she not simply keep her mouth shut like she had done for so many years?”. One patronizing query from a member of the judiciary committee was, “Why in God’s name” would you ever speak to him again, Anita? This is wounding to listen to.
You probably already know the story of Solomon Northup from the movie 12 Years a Slave, but his story was almost lost to time if it hadn't been for a curious and determined woman named Sue Eakin:The Woman Who Saved Solomon.
What became an exercise in curiosity soon became an obsession. While she juggled her roles as a wife, mother, and freelance journalist, she spent every spare hour researching the life of Solomon Northup. As her eldest son Paul M. Eakin Jr., 71, now says, “We grew up with Solomon—we refer to him as our older brother.”

Afternoons would be spent driving to small courthouses to pore over records that would verify Northup’s story. “Her mission was to authenticate every fact,” says Dr. Eakin, a retired math professor. “Every name, every river, every distance, railroad, bridge, relationship.”

Feliza at Girls in Capes has a great post on The Quiet Feminism of Anne Shirley.
After she’s taken in by the Cuthbert siblings, though, Anne’s value shifts: she starts attending school, where she becomes the intellectual rival of Gilbert Blythe. Though the rivalry stems from a rather childish and vain incident in which he calls her “Carrots,” Anne’s determination brings her to the top of the class, though maybe you could call it her stubbornness instead.

Here, readers start to see concepts of feminism coming into play, though a child would read the book differently. Anne starts to be treated as an individual with worth that goes beyond her ability to take care of babies, and her more unique talents for English and poetry are recognized not only by her teachers and classmates, but the rest of the town as well.
Emma at The F Bomb has a great piece On Being A Role Model for the young women she teaches at summer camp, and that kids are always learning from the words AND actions of the adults around them, not only in the class room, but in every aspect of their time together.
I was thinking, for the first time, about what our campers see in the way we see ourselves. How could I be so careful about what I say and never once stop to think about what it does to my young campers – particularly the girls – when they see me cover up in a towel or hear my coworker say how “disgusting” her arms look.

There are so many things I want my campers – especially my girl campers – to know. That how much fun they have on stage matters far more than how “talented” they are, that they light up our days with their humor, their smiles, their love. That we see, in their moments of deep compassion, patience, and kindness, and the thoughtful and considerate adults they will become. That they already are, and that we hope they always stay, brave and bold.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Follow Friday

I don't know how much of that Time article calling out Ironic Misandry I agree with. What I do know is that the parody account for Women Against Feminism is hilarious. In that totally laugh to keep from crying kind of way.

RethinkPink has a great podcasts exploring issues around gender, parenting, empowerment and all kinds of excellent stuff! You should also be following them on your favorite social media platform: Google+FacebookTwitterPinterest

S.E. Smith writes feminist and environmental pieces for several online publications as well as for ou's own blog. While I have ou in my RSS feed, I also follow ou on Facebook and Twitter for maximum share-ability.

GrrlScientist writes informative and fascinating pieces for The Guardian, mainly about birds and science-related things. Even when tackling a complex scientific issue, she makes it accessible and interesting to the layperson.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kickstart This!

Here's your weekly list of awesome Kickstarter (and IndieGoGo) projects that deserve your attention!

Happy Birthday, Marsha! is the story of two best friends, Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera, in the hours before the Stonewall riots.
When Marsha and Sylvia, self-proclaimed “street queens” – homeless, Black & Latina trans women – ignite the Stonewall Rebellion, they change LGBT politics forever. It's a hot summer day in June, 1969. Marsha throws a party, but no one shows up. Meanwhile, Sylvia gets stoned and forgets the party after unsuccessfully introducing her lover to her family. Throughout the difficult day, the friends struggle with harassment and alienation before converging at the Stonewall Inn to finally celebrate Marsha's birth. Unbeknownst to them, the NYPD has plans to raid the bar that night. Happy Birthday, Marsha! is the story of two brave best friends and the everyday decisions they made that changed the course of history.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Birthday - Audrey Mestre

Today would have been Audrey Mestre's 40th birthday.

Audrey Mestre (11 August, 1974 - 12 October, 2002) was a world record-setting free diver*.

She was born into a family of snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, and at a very young age, it was clear she was destined to spend her life in the water. Her grandfather would take her diving on the south of France every summer, and paid for swimming lessons in the winter. She was swimming by the age of two, and won a 25-meter swim match at the age of 2-1/2! By age thirteen was a seasoned scuba diver.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

She's Crafty - A Wrinkle in Time

In celebration of the hopeful news that Frozen co-writer and co-director Jennifer Lee has gotten the approval by Disney to adapt A Wrinkle in Time for a new production, I've put together this collection of super crafty items that I'm sure you will just love!

Felty, the owner of Felt Like Helping (a shop dedicated to raising funds for Haiti Relief projects) made this adorable and detailed Aunt Beast doll. I want one to cradle my heart!
Appropriate to the planet where she lives, and and to the sightlessness of the inhabitants, Aunt Beast is quite plain and gray. The heart I created for Aunt Beast to cradle (as she cradled Meg) represents features of Aunt Beast that require more than the sense of vision to know they are there ~ healing love and the fragrance of spring.

Lynn Floor made this amazing stitched version of her friend's favorite A Wrinkle in Time book cover.

Lauren Delaney's etsy shop is filled with all kinds of adorable and awesome pieces for furnishing the most luxurious of dollhouses. What miniature reading room would be complete without its own copy of A Wrinkle in Time?

Hallie M. Gillett painted this amazing interpretation of A Wrinkle in Time as part of her Faerie Tale Feet series.

The amazing Madeline L'Engle doll by Debbie Ritter of UneekDollDesigns is just one of her many great author dolls!
For the fan of the author Madeleine L'Engle, I created this special art doll miniature. Madeleine wears stylish black pants with colorful floral shirt, and a knit lavender wrap scarf. She also has on dangling silver "earrings", and even carries a tiny replica of one of her books!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Blog Around

Here's a collection of long reads for your weekend pleasure.

The always brilliant S.E. Smith writes about the benefit of hunting down the histories of women: Taking Back Women's Histories
The 20th century was a turbulent, difficult, and amazing one in women’s history. Even as it marked the emergence of women as a social power and force to be reckoned with, who would not be ignored or pushed into the corner, it also marked an era of repression and the continual emergence of new and sneaky methods to keep women in a position of lesser status. The strides of the women’s rights movement were critical, but by no means brought about total equality, which is why it’s so important to continue the fight today — and why the decision to fight to confront, preserve, and retain women’s history is so critical.

Claudia Roth Pierpont gives a thorough looking into how Nina Simone turned the movement into music in this The New Yorker article A Raised Voice
Simone had been singing out loud and clear about civil rights since 1963—well after the heroic stand of figures like Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis, Jr., but still at a time when many black performers felt trapped between the rules of commercial success and the increasing pressure for racial confrontation. At Motown, in the early sixties, the wildly popular performers of a stream of crossover hits became models of black achievement but had virtually no contact with the movement at all.
Quora contributor and game designer Feifei Wang answers What's it Like to be a Woman Working in the Video Game Industry?
I think things are getting better. More and more game companies make a point to hire more women and other minority groups to make sure the working environment is more friendly and inclusive. So for you girls out there, come work for the gaming industry. The bottom line is, sexism is everywhere, if you’re gonna get it no matter what, you might as well choose a career that give you most for your trouble.
Katherine Cross takes a close look at ageism in The Kids Were Always Alright: Breaking the Spell of Ageless Ageism
The problems caused by thinking that young people are uniquely destructive are legion for activists: it fractures the energies of our movement and denies useful tools to those who may need them most.
Earlier this week The Sun reposted its fantastic 2006 interview with the late Nadine Gordimer.
Passion springs up from her soft voice as she talks about the Aficaness of her works, “You’re influences by where you live and the views of your friends and society.” As she was growing up in the racist apartheid South Africa, she felt an urge to fight against apartheid. “By the time I was twelve years old, I could see there was something very wrong with the way the country was and the way we were living,” she says. Her mother also felt the same way. “That’s how I became anti-apartheid before apartheid ended.”

Want to brush up on your knowledge of Women's Studies? Check out Autostraddle's Rebel Girls: The Illustrated (And Quite Condensed) History of Women’s Studies
According to Marilyn Boxer, the history of Women’s Studies lies deep within the history of women in academia. She envisions the institutionalization of the program — one which expands every year — as a natural next step for the movement to include women in academic work.